November 3, 2019
Who says Maine has no talent????
I live in a rural state with about 1.34 million people or 41.3 people per square mile, yet currently circling the Earth aboard the space station is Caribou native, astronaut Jessica Meir, fastest woman from Maine ever (17,150 mph or 4.76 miles per second). Now Mainers can lay claim to another of our own as the fastest in the newest version of the original Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Dash in 1971.
The original start began in downtown New York City at the Red Ball Garage as a protest against the 55 miles per hour national speed limit. Fastest time for that event was set by Brock Yates (Car & Driver Magazine Editor) and Dan Gurney ( legendary professional race car driver; did I really have to tell you that?).
Yates and Gurney accomplished the Sea to Sea drive in 35 hours and 54 minutes or 80.8 mph in a Ferrari Daytona. That record held until 1975 when Rick Kline and Jack May in a 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS lowered the time to 35.53.
The last Cannonball Run was in 1979 with the cross-country course beginning in Darien, Connecticut at the Goodwives Shopping Center to the Portofino Hotel and Marina, Redondo Beach, California. The organizers had to change the venue starting location to Connecticut due to the large number of cars. The record time of 32 hours and 51 minutes was set by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough in their 1979 Jaguar XJS. The course was 50 miles longer than the New York to California route.
THe 1983 run resulted in a new record for the New York to LA (the shorter course) with a time of 32 hours and 7 minute by Doug Turner and Dave Diem with a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTS.
A little background of the C2C event
Fred Ashmore explained the rules leading up to the 40th Anniversary 2019 event saying,” The 2904 came along by a man named John Ficarra. He saw a vision of eliminating the deep pockets and unlimited budgets and started running east coast to west coast events in a similar fashion (low-budget).”
“Some of them included the Cannonball Route while others did not. With only $2904 you had to buy, build, and run your car coast-to-coast. That included repairs, fuel, tolls, and tickets.”
“In 2015, Ed Bolian sourced a 2002 S55 AMG and was able to have all the repairs done for free, as the mechanic was a team member on the run. Ed and his team was able for the first time in 32 years break the 1983 time from Redball to Redondo by posting a time of 32:05. Ed now held both the Cannonball Route Event and Transcontinental Cannonball Route Record. The 2904 made its final running in 2017.”
“During the 2015 year another event had emerged called the C2C. The rules were basic, cars cost must be under $3000 purchase price and pre-1980 only. The first run started with 3 cars and ballooned in the final event of 2019 to 44 participants signed up.”
“2019 would be the last running of the C2C, with over 40 cars signed up and the 40th anniversary of the last Cannonball Run of ‘79 making Darien Connecticut the ideal starting place.”
Some of you may recognize Fred from the October 8, 2018 episode when he set the Pre-1965 record with his 37 hours 15 minute time in his custom-built 1963 Ford Galaxy XL500. That car featured a Crown Vic engine and a massive 188 gallon gas tank which allowed him and navigator Andrew LaVerdiere, Pittston, to make the trip non-stop.
Fred was asked to not bring back the Galaxy with its massive gas tank because organizers feared that teams would risk sleep deprivation to make the trip non stop.
Ashmore looked for an alternative pre-1980 car to make the 40th anniversary finale of the C2C. He found it when he noticed a post on social media for a 1979 Mustang Cobra with a rare “Wide Body Kit” made specifically for the television show Miami Vice. Only 4 or 5 of those kits were made by S & D Marketing of Miami.
He found the parted out Mustang under a palm tree near Miami. The owner found out what Ashmore wanted to use the car for and gave him not only that car but another identical Mustang which would yield a few parts but was not rebuildable.
Ashmore loaded both cars on his trailer and began the journey to his business, Ashmore’s Automotive Repair, Hancock, to begin the process of making one car for the transcontinental race which loomed only 2 months away in September 2019. The actual race date was a secret since organizers did not want word of the event leaking out to law enforcement along the route since the speeds obtained were well over the limit.
Some facts about the Ashmore Cobra and folks who made it possible
C2C Express World Record Holder (1979 Mustang Cobra 31 hours 47 minutes)
Classic Car World Record Holder (’64 Ford Galaxy in 2018 37 hrs 15 minutes)
Faster than anyone ever to run the Cannonball Routes in an event
Top Ten Fastest EVER in a Transcontinental Run across USA
2860 mile route
70 gallon fuel capacity
Top speed 146 mph
Average 91 mph
This car was built and driven Fred Ashmore Jr. and Travis Hilton with help from:
Arthur H Ashmore III
Scott & Klair Moshier
Emery & Beverly Hubel Pratt
and most importantly his Mom & DAD
Thanks to John Carter and David Kane
What is next?
What is next for the adventurous Ashmore? Keep your eye on UpNorth Motorsports for information about racing a 1995 Ford Ranger in the SCORE Baja 500 or Baja 1000 in the very near future. Ashmore also discussed another even larger event which will not be revealed until more details come together, so stay tuned.
Trick or Truck in Westbrook
Let’s Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)